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Pre18 announces 6th application round

Parallel18’s pre-acceleration program, pre18, opened its sixth application round for local companies that want to participate. Entrepreneurs can apply starting Sept. 18 by completing the online form. The program, which is part of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust (PRSTRT), aims to provide innovative local companies with business education, mentoring and an equity-free grant to help them enter the market and scale globally.

The companies that are accepted will receive a $25,000 grant and must commit to participating in an intensive 12-week business education program that includes mentoring from leaders and experts in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, business connections through the program’s corporate partners, counseling and continuous professional monitoring.

“Once again, we are excited to make this opportunity for growth and learning available to local entrepreneurs,” said Héctor Jirau, Parallel18’s executive director. “Pre18 is a program that was created during a time of need and crisis in response to Hurricane Maria. We know the challenges that entrepreneurs face during these times and this program is for those who reinvent themselves, who think big and who have a project that’s ready to monetize. We invite companies with innovative solutions to apply to obtain firsthand support to take their ventures to the next level, to enter or expand their market by selection.”

Among the requirements to qualify for the program is having a product or service that is ready to launch or already launched in its respective market. If it has not launched yet, the company must have a working prototype with a plan and set launch date. The company must also be Puerto Rican or have Puerto Rican founders. 

If the company interested in participating is an e-commerce business, it should have a working website that has already begun to sell and reflects sales traction. Companies should be operational for three years or less, have the potential to grow quickly and export to new markets. Therefore, technology-based companies or companies that have a unique component that distinguishes them are ideal candidates.

“The Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust has the mission of promoting entrepreneurship, since entrepreneurs are agents of change,” said Lucy Crespo, chief executive officer of the Trust. “It is our duty to help them and provide them with the necessary tools to make their innovative projects a reality, since they promote the economic development of the island and create job opportunities. We urge entrepreneurs from the island to apply for the program since they will benefit greatly, not only from the grant they will receive, but also from the quality of business education they will experience during the program.”

For this pre18 round, up to 30 companies will be selected. Company founders must be able to commit themselves full time to their business and the program.

So far, 161 companies have participated in past pre18 iterations, with 53 having continued to the more advanced and international P18 program.

An informational session is slated for Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. at parallel18 to address any doubts and help guide those interested in the program. Those interested founders in attending can register here. Applications close on Oct. 14. 

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